Teen in serious condition after fall at abandoned Minneapolis mill

Multiple urban explorers have been hurt at the Fruen Mill.
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Someone's been badly hurt in one of Minneapolis' abandoned mills — the latest in a long series of injuries at the sites.

It happened at Fruen Mill, located just west of downtown on the 300 block of Thomas Ave N.

Fire department officials say a 17-year-old boy fell five stories inside the building just after 10 p.m. on Friday, per MPR. 

The station notes that crews had to cut through fencing and plywood and climb down into the mill to rescue him. 

Per WCCO, the victim — who was one of three teens found at the site — was taken to a nearby hospital in "serious condition." 

The extent of his injuries is not clear; no other injuries were reported. 

This is far from the first such incident at Fruen Mill, where at least four people have fallen and one person has died since 2005. The most recent incident involved a man suffering serious injuries after a 40-foot fall in 2015

Around the same time, a University of Minnesota student fell to her death while exploring the Bunge Grain Elevator near Dinkytown.

It's part of a larger problem with abandoned mills (and other derelict industrial sites) in Minnesota, which are an attractive destination for so-called urban explorers. 

As the Star Tribune reported, the rise of social media and devices like GoPro have driven the popularity of urban exploration in recent years, with Minneapolis being a prime location because the city "generally doesn’t demolish vacant sites that are structurally sound because of potential for redevelopment."

But the hobby — which is popular across the U.S. and around the world — comes with a wide range of risks, including structurally unsound buildings, "the toxic chemicals known as PCBs, lead paint and mercury (especially at former power plants) and mold, asbestos and pigeon droppings," the New York Times says. 

The paper points out that urban explorers also face legal ramifications, as the activity often involves trespassing on private property. 

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